Saturday, March 30, 2013

Our Easter Weekend

Good Friday began bright and early with two very excited children eager to see what Easter Bunny had brought for them. (They are with their mother on Sunday so EB makes an early stop here.) They were thrilled to see that the Easter Bunny had shed some fur in a trail around the house (even though naughty feline Faye had followed the bunny and tried to play with the fur as it was dropped...) 


Easter just isn't the same without chocolate before breakfast! Jasper, Rob's Seeing Eye Dog, didn't miss out on a treat either- EB left him a nice big carrot which he was very happy with.

We all enjoyed some pancakes for breakfast and headed up to the Gorge for a picnic and a walk around lunchtime. We live on the Trevallyn side of the Gorge, but when we arrived at the car park- only 5 minutes drive from our house- it was packed and we ended up having to drive through town and go around to the Basin side. Oh well. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the sunshine. 

I was feeling very happy and relaxed as Thursday was my last day at work before beginning Maternity Leave. I still have a while to go before the baby arrives, but I've been struggling with back pain and lack of sleep for a few weeks now so I'm very happy to have finished work. My work gave me some chocolates, a card and a generous gift voucher, which was lovely and I'm looking forwards to buying the last few things we need.

Saturday we decided to head to Bridport for the day to go to the beach, visit my dear friend Jude at her campsite and have some fish and chips. The weather was a bit dubious with some rain on the way out, but when we arrived it was quite nice- windy, but not cold. The children didn't mind that we said it was a bit too cold to swim and enjoyed running around after we ate our lunch on the beach.

After lunch we decided to drive along to the dog beach to let Jasper have a run. We told the children they could change into their shorts and have a paddle up to their knees...I'm not sure who we were kidding as they both ended up drenched, but it was great to see them having so much fun. Jasper was ecstatic as well- as soon as his lead was off he was charging through the waves and along the sand. At one point he tore off to the other end of the beach and brought back a new friend to play with.

Just as we got back to the car and dried everyone off it started to rain, so our timing worked out well! We got back to the city by late afternoon and the children were picked up by their mother soon after, so we just had a quiet night. Today has been a little we had our Easter celebration on Friday we planned to have a very lazy day and not leave the house at all, but I realised that something was wrong with Pesto's mouth and discovered a large infected cut on his tongue. No wonder he didn't eat his dinner last night. I feel guilty for telling him not to be fussy! A trip to the vet ensued and we had to leave him there. I've just had a call to say he's going to be okay and we can pick him up in an hour once the anaesthetic wears off. Poor puss.

So that was our Easter weekend. I hope everyone has enjoyed time with their family this weekend as well. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bittersweet Adventure

I am extremely close to my mum and dad, and always have been. As a child, I struggled with terrible homesickness on school camps and at sleepovers as I missed them and the warm and loving environment they had created for my sister and I. We talk several times a week, and their house is less than an hour from mine.

Yet they won't meet their first grandchild, my baby son, until he is at least 4 months old.

You see, my mum and dad are more than just loving and devoted parents. They are adventurers. Lisa and I were brought up to love being outdoors and enjoying bushwalking, abseiling, camping and kayaking.

Dad, me, Mum and my sister on an overnight bushwalk last year.

Several weeks ago they left 'mainland Tasmania' in a helicopter, which deposited them on Maatsuyker Island, a small , rugged, remote island off the south coast of our island state. There they will remain, as the sole inhabitants, for six months as the volunteer caretakers. They will live on the supplies they brought with them and vegies from the carefully maintained garden, with one resupply by helicopter at the halfway mark.

They will face roaring winds and cold as they rise at 5am to send a weather report to the Bureau of Metereology. They will maintain the grounds, the gardens, the house, keep an eye on the colonies of seals and shearwaters (mutton birds) and send several weather reports a day. They will have each other for company and be able to talk to friends and family on the satellite phone and listen to the internet or television on the island.

They will miss the birth of their grandson and his first few months of life.

Why, you may ask, have they chosen to be so far away and unreachable during this time? Well, becoming a volunteer caretaker on Maat is quite a coveted position and has a rigorous application process. They spent 3 months on the island in 2010 and have always been keen to return. Long before I fell pregnant, they applied for this longer stint and were accepted just before I found out the news.

Did I cry? Did I sob in Mum's arms and beg her not to leave? Did she cry and spent days in a torment of indecision?

Yes, we did. And then Mum and Dad made their decision, and I accepted the decision and did my best to come to terms with it. I'm still coming to terms with it. But I'm also happy that they are following their dreams and having this amazing adventure together. I know that they will be the most loving, committed, fun grandparents for the rest of my little boy's life, and this first four month is such a small part of that. I asked Mum the other day if she wanted me to call her as soon as I go into labour, or if she would prefer to wait and hear the news once the baby is born. I had visions of her and Dad pacing the island in an agony of tension. However, she assured me that she wants to know as soon as I even think I am in labour. I know it wasn't an easy decision for either of them. It's hard on me too. I am lucky, though, to have the support around me that I do and in the meantime, all I can do is wish them well on their adventure and look forwards to their return and their next adventure as Nanna and Pop.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Insomniac, Part 2

I wrote a post in 2011 about my struggle with insomnia. It's been an ongoing battle for my entire life. Last year, after going through some very challenging times in my life, my doctor suggested I try sleeping tablets so that I could at least make it to work- I was so stressed and upset that I was running on about 1 or 2 hours sleep- if that- a night, losing weight, and just not feeling good. I reluctantly agreed, after always saying I didn't want to take that path...and was instantly converted. I was only taking the tablets a couple of nights a week, generally before a work day, and knowing that I was going to be able to go to bed and sleep straight through for the entire night until my alarm went off was a wonderful thing. The only side effect I suffered was that the fact that my dreams tended to centre around pirates on these nights. Strange.

Fast forward to falling pregnant, and of course I had to stop taking the tablets. It was a non-decision- I simply wasn't going to take anything that might harm my baby. I didn't suffer any withdrawal symptoms, but my insomnia returned, of course. Coupled with that well-known phenomena, pregnancy insomnia. Some nights are fine...others I will still be wide awake at 3am.

I wrote before about insomnia being lonely. The loneliness of being the only one awake in the house, and feeling like you are the only one awake in the world. Things are a little different this time around, however. I have company.

My little boy seems to be just as much as a night owl as I am (please, please don't let this continue after he is born!) and I find it comforting to feel him kick, wriggle and dance when I am lying on the couch reading after being unable to fall asleep in bed. I will often talk to him or stroke the bits of him that sometimes protrude from my bump. I love it when he answers by prodding my hand or wriggling even more. It makes a difference to me knowing that someone is awake with me and keeping me company. I can't wait to hold him in my arms. I just hope he doesn't continue his nightly playtimes after he arrives!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Mouse in the House

Let me set the scene.

It was a Thursday evening at around 8.30pm. The children were fast asleep in bed and Rob and I were relaxing on the couch watching TV. I was feeling extremely tired from a very busy week at work and the thought of moving any time soon was not pleasant. 

Enter Faye, one of the cats. She came into the lounge, sat in front of the entertainment unit and stared at it. My heart instantly sank. 

You see, several years ago she spent two days staring at the stove before I finally worked out that there was a mouse hiding under it. Last year she sat and stared at the fridge- yep, once more a mouse was in hiding. So I instantly knew that there was the possible of a furry intruder in the house. I explained to Rob, grabbed a torch and had a thorough mouse to be seen. I chastised Faye, told her she was crazy and tried not to think about it. The thing is, these mice don't just come into the house. Faye is not the brightest of cats and once she catches a mouse (which is very rare) instead of doing the normal cat thing, by which I mean chowing down and then leaving the head and several organs in a tableau more suited to Dexter outside one's front door, she prefers to bring it inside, unharmed, and let it go. I don't pretend to know why. I was hopeful that this time, there was no mouse. Perhaps Faye was hearing things. Or smelling things. Or something.

We returned to My Kitchen Rules and I tried not to think of it. Suddenly, Pesto (feline 2) entered the room, sat down and...stared at the entertainment unit. Then began sniffing at it. Then began scratching at it. My heart sunk further. Pesto has a great deal more common sense than Faye. I explained to Rob what was happening and we decided to have a closer look. I was still optimistic that there was just a large spider, or a trapped moth, or even a skink in attendance. (They call this denial). Rob managed to move the heavy cabinet forwards a little, and Pesto and I had a good look behind it. Nothing. Next to the cabinet is a much smaller cabinet, holding one of the speakers, and we decided to check under there next. Rob moved it, Pesto leapt forwards and a very large mouse erupted out from under it and into our Thursday night.

"Oh flip, it's a flipping mouse!" I screamed. (Replace the word 'flip' in that sentence-both times- with another word beginning with the same letter, and you'll realise what I actually said. Ahem.) No sooner had the words left my mouse than Rob disappeared from the room- backwards. I've never seen him move so fast. Then again, if I was unable to see and someone started screaming obscenely about a mouse, I would probably beat a hasty retreat as well. He reappeared moments later, now wearing his slippers, while I shouted "Get it Pesto, get it!" as Pesto chased said rodent behind the curtains. Let me make something clear. I did not wish the mouse actual physical harm. I am a vegetarian and against animal cruelty. But I am also against mice in my lounge room and the words just...came out. I didn't want Pesto to catch it and eat it, but I didn't want to grab it myself and I had some vague notion that if he grabbed it, I could grab him and use him as a mouse-carrier to take it outside, then somehow make him let it go. Not all that well thought out, I know, but it was a chaotic situation.

Pesto and I both lost sight of it and the next ten minutes were spent crawling around (difficult when one is heavily pregnant) looking under furniture with a torch, while Pesto prowled around doing his own searching and Rob hurriedly shut our bedroom door and the children's doors. Pesto and I were very much a team by now. I would call him over to help me look, and he would meow me over if he thought a piece of furniture deserved a second look.

"It has to be in here somewhere," I huffed to Rob. He stood still, listening. His hearing is a lot better than mine. 

"I can hear something...behind us," he whispered. I spun around to see the mouse making a break for it into the kitchen. 

"There is is! F....lip! Pesto!" I screeched. Pesto chased the mouse and we chased the cat, but in the kitchen it was nowhere to be seen. (Where was Faye during all of this, you might ask? Having- presumably- brought the mouse inside and caused all of this, she was watching with interest from the couch and making no move to help.) I decided that the fridge was the only thing it could be hiding under, and Rob proceeded to move it while I tried to look under it and Pesto stood on guard. Once more the rodent burst forth and darted from the room, this time heading into the front room (also known as the library). We all followed and I saw it disappear under Rob's computer desk with Pesto in hot pursuit. We quickly decided to block both doorways to the hallway and kitchen (which don't have doors) and open the front door in the hope that, with a combined effort, we could chase it outside. Good plan, right? This involved Rob moving two heavy bookcases to cover the doorways while Pesto guarded the desk. Suddenly the mouse appeared on the top of the desk and ran across the printer, which turned on. As the mouse disappeared under the desk again, the printer inexplicably began to print. I half expected to see "Look guys, I didn't mean to cause this fuss. Just let me go, and we'll forget everything" on the paper, but it was blank. The mouse suddenly made a break for the bookcase and wedged itself through a tiny gap and back into the kitchen

As I cursed while peering over the bookcase we were now trapped behind, Pesto went crazy as he couldn't follow and Rob wondered what on earth was happening, Faye carried out her only useful act of the evening by appearing in the kitchen, causing the mouse to clearly decide "better the devil you know" and reappear in the library. He then saw the open front door and, joy of joys, made a break for it, boldly running straight through Pesto's legs in the process. The mouse was last seen disappearing into the bushes, followed by Pesto, and I slammed the door on the whole debacle. Rob moved the bookcases and we collapsed on the couch again, both exhausted. 

"Well," Rob said after a moment, "at least we learnt something about each other."
"And what's that?" I asked, still trying to catch my breath.
"Neither of us like mice," he finished drily. 
True. They do say that any experience in which you learn something is worthwhile, but I'm not so sure in this case.  

Afternoon Walk

The children are very lucky to have friends living next door (whose mother, coincidentally, was friends with Rob when they were children). The neighbours are a little older than Harry and MJ but they all get on very well. We decided to walk to the park near our house after school today and stopped by to ask the children next door if they wanted to come. I took this photo of the four of them walking ahead of us- the boys holding hands and the girls holding hands, very cute. They were all very responsible checking both ways before crossing the roads and as soon as we reached the park they all exploded with energy and ran to the equipment.

This week hasn't been the best one for me as I slipped on some stairs at work after treading on a toy car that had been left there and landed on my back. It was pretty scary and quite painful. An immediate trip to the doctor reassured us that the baby was fine but I was told to have a few days of rest as my back was very sore. It was nice to get outside this afternoon after being cooped up inside all week. I've been reading a lot but feeling frustrated at not being able to do much. I'm so happy that the heat from last week has passed and it was lovely sitting in the gentle afternoon sun watching the children play.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Public Property

I was told by several people that 'once you become pregnant, you turn into public property'. I have to say that this is true. I love being pregnant but as I get further and further along, I get more and more tired of answering the same questions asked by well-meaning people (mainly colleagues, parents at my work, and shop assistants). It's gotten to the point this week (it may have something to do with the hot weather making me cranky) of me wanting to print up a T-shirt with the following on it to save time:

-Yes, I am feeling the heat. Thanks for the observation.
-Three weeks until I start leave.
-No, I don't plan on being bored once I start maternity leave.
-It's a boy.
-Yes, we know what his name is, and no, I'm not telling you. (Did you really think I would?)
-Yes, I know I need to enjoy sleep now while I can.

People seem especially gleeful in regards to the last one...parents seem to love pointing out to new mums-to-be that "once the baby comes along, you won't be getting much sleep! Enjoy it now while you can!" Hmm, I had figured that one out for myself, thanks. I know it will be hard, but having been a chronic insomniac for my entire life I feel I am in some way prepared. Anyway, I live with a five year old and a seven year old who do not yet understand the concept of sleeping in on Saturdays and happily bounce out of bed anywhere from 6am. So sleep deprivation isn't going to be an entirely new concept for me. I know it will probably be harder than I think, but I'll deal with it when the time comes.

I don't mean to sound whingy, snarky or bitter. As I said, I adore being pregnant and sharing the joy with others. I've just never been a fan of small talk, cliches or meaningless platitudes and I'm certainly copping my share of all three lately. I also have a little boy who is determined to stay lodged up under my ribs at the minute! I swear he nearly broke one of them last night during 'mad hour'. 'Mad hour' is my name for the time between 11pm and midnight, which seems to be the baby's most active period at the moment- somersaults, whole body contortions, kicks and headbutts all occur in that hour and while amusing, it is getting a little uncomfortable! (I'm also hoping 'mad hour' doesn't continue from 11pm once he is born...)

Anyway, I've had my grumble and I am feeling better now. I am especially thrilled that the hot weather seems to have passed. Bring on proper Autumn weather- I miss my dressing gown and slippers!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hot and Uncomfortable

It's Autumn here in Tasmania and one would assume that the weather would begin to change. Wrong! We have had some of the hottest days of the year so far in this week past and I am not enjoying it. Being pregnant in hot weather is not much fun. Work has been a new office/teaching room is at the 'top' of the school (my school is set on a hill) and trudging up and down the hill and three sets of stairs, numerous times a day, is really taking it out of me and I'm feeling very hot and uncomfortable and full of aches. I am still in love with being pregnant, though, and love seeing my bump grow each week.

My bump this week, plus a photobombing cat.

My little family is away on the mainland for a special family wedding this weekend, so I'm home alone. It is so quiet without them! All I feel like doing is lying around on the couch with the air conditioner going and watching mindless television, while eating copious amounts of icypoles. Though I did have a lovely morning tea with friends this morning and some random K-Mart wandering time.

Little Miss Faye is finally settling into the new house and enjoyed having me- and the couch- all to herself last night.  

 Doesn't she look sweet and innocent? Well, if you look closely at the next picture you will notice some lovely claw marks in my hand. She decided that under no circumstances was I to stop rubbing her belly, and every time I tried to pull my hand away she hooked her claws in deeper- while purring louder. Thanks Faye.

In three weeks I start my maternity leave, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't counting down the days. Work this year has proven to be quite stressful and not as enjoyable as I would have hoped, and I feel very happy with my decision to start my leave a few weeks earlier than I originally had planned. I already have a list of things I want to get done in the first few weeks of my leave before I get too exhausted (and huge). 

Everyone in the house is getting more and more excited about our new family member, and Harry and Mikayla couldn't resist trying out the new cot.

Jasper is so excited he had no choice but to retreat to his bed and suck his rug. Oh, wait...that's just Jasper.

And Johnny is either excited, happy, or just's hard to tell.

I'll leave you now as I feel the urge to jump in my third cool shower for the day and eat another icypole (no, you don't need to know what number icypole it is). Bring on the actual autumn weather!


Monday, March 4, 2013

Awaiting Occupancy

Our gorgeous Beatrix Potter-themed nursery is now complete, after spending an hour wrestling with the cot this evening. (Apologies for the dodgy photo quality- my phone doesn't take the best pictures.)

The wall stickers are from eBay, the hope chest was left to me in my Nanna's will and the rug on the recliner was made by my darling Mum, using fabric from her bridesmaid's dresses. The Bunnykins bits and pieces were mine as a baby.

I love that the room has a mix of new things and old things that have love and history behind them.

I am so excited about our little boy moving into this room! I'll take some better pictures, and some that show the rest of the room, on my proper camera later.


Sunday, March 3, 2013

Bebb Breaks the Silence

It has been a long, long time since my last post...over a year in fact. My life went through some massive changes at this time last year and my little blog got pushed aside. Last night, however, I realised how much I missed blogging about books, movies, recipes and my life in general and therefore...Bebb is back! I feel very happy to have returned to my small corner of the internet. I have a new life and a new family now and am finally feeling happy and settled. The biggest news is...Bebb has a bump!

This photo was taken after returning from a Sacred Birth yoga class (I'm attending weekly classes until my baby is born) and if I look exhausted, it's because I had spent the day at the Longford Maker's Market with my little business, Fanciful Creations. I am looking forwards to sharing the rest of my pregnancy journey with you, and having somewhere to ramble again. I'll share some more news/happenings/my new family with you soon. Leave me a comment if you're around...I'd love to know who is still reading after my long silence.